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Are Puggles Smart? Breed Facts & Considerations

Kristin Hitchcock

By Kristin Hitchcock

puggle dog being given a treat

Puggles are often considered to be average or a little over average in terms of their intelligence. Neither Pugs nor Beagles The Puggle parent breeds) are exceptionally smart and fall around the middle of the pack in terms of intelligence.

That said, measuring a dog’s intelligence is difficult. Often, people use the dog’s ability to learn and perform commands as a sign of their intelligence.

Just like with humans, dogs can have different kinds of intelligence. One person may be good at math, and another might read exceptionally fast. You cannot claim that the latter person isn’t smart just because they can’t do math as well as the other. In the same way, you can’t claim a Beagle isn’t smart just because they don’t learn commands as fast as a Border Collie. In a tracking competition, the Beagle would absolutely beat the Border Collie.

Therefore, whether or not Puggles are smart largely depends on who you ask. Puggles don’t rank the highest in intelligence, but they are very adaptable. Let’s dive into what we do know about their intelligence so that you know what to expect from your Puggle.

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What We Know About a Puggle’s Intelligence

A Puggle is a mixed-breed dog. Therefore, they will inherit traits from both their Pug and Beagle parents. You never know what you’re going to get with one of these dogs, and that includes their intelligence. Puggles are likely to vary more in their learning ability than other dogs because they are a mixed breed.

In many cases, these dogs are very adaptable when socialized, which is their own form of intelligence. Puggles are often good at taking what they know in one situation and applying it to a different situation. This trait can make them easier to train than some other breeds.

For instance, if you teach your dog to wait at your front door when you open it, they’ll have an easier time applying that to other front doors. Even some very intelligent breeds have a problem with “generalizing” their learning in this way. Puggles are also able to figure out that rules like “no dogs on the couch” apply to all couches. For some breeds, you have to teach them not to jump on every couch they come across.

Puggles also tend to be pretty fast problem solvers. Many owners claim that they’re quick at figuring out toy dispensers and puzzle toys. Of course, once they figure out one puzzle feeder, they’ll find it easier to figure out puzzles of the same sort.\

Puggle Pug Beagle Mix
Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock

Intelligence Doesn’t Equal Obedience

While Puggles are often good at adapting their knowledge and figuring out puzzles, this doesn’t make them obedient. Neither Pugs nor Beagles are particularly known for their obedience.

For instance, Beagles track naturally. They don’t need to be taught how to follow a rabbit’s trail. Hunters simply have to follow the Beagle to find the rabbit. No training is really required. Therefore, when people were choosing the best hunting dogs to breed, whether or not the dog could learn advanced commands wasn’t considered. They didn’t need the dog to be obedient, and they weren’t worried about puppies being obedient, either.

Puggles were not purposefully bred in this way, as they are a mixed breed. However, they do inherit traits from the Beagle, which generally means that they aren’t very obedient. They may know what you’re saying, but that doesn’t mean that they’re going to do it!

In fact, many of these dogs have a stubborn streak, where they may take steps backward in training. Often, this occurs when the dog is reaching puberty. You can think of this as the dog’s “teen” phase. You’ll need to be extra patient and even re-teach some of the basics to your Puggle during this stage.

Other Factors to Consider

Of course, a Puggle’s intelligence is not reliant solely on the dog’s genetics. Just like in humans, the dog’s environment and early years play a big role in their intelligence later. As we already stated, Puggles vary widely because they are a mixed breed. It’s important to see each Puggle as an individual. Everything we talked about above likely won’t apply to every Puggle. Some may be more like Beagles, and others may be more like Pugs.

Early socialization and training also play a role. If your dog isn’t introduced to many different situations and places at a young age, their ability to generalize may become stunted. They may not realize that commands and rules are the same everywhere because they’ve never done them anywhere else but at home.

Similarly, if you never teach your Puggle anything, they will have a harder time learning cues later than a dog that was trained as a puppy. We highly recommend starting training as soon as the dog is in your care. Puppy classes are a fantastic consideration as soon as your Puggle puppy has had their first vaccinations.

Use consistent training methods to help these dogs learn faster. Once they learn a few commands, their ability to learn other commands is often increased. Exercise and mental stimulation can also help make your Puggle smarter. Dogs that use their mind regularly are better at learning new things. Physical exercise can help ensure your dog’s needs are fulfilled so that they can concentrate during training sessions.

Dark Fawn Puggle Dog Laying on Owners Bed with toy
Image Credit: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock

How Does the Puggle Compare to Other Dog Breeds?

Puggles are not an official dog breed. Therefore, they aren’t included in the surveys that look at canine intelligence. However, they’ll likely be somewhere between a Pug and a Beagle. In terms of “obedience” intelligence, Pugs are ranked 57th, and Beagles are ranked 72nd. However, it’s important to note that these ranks solely rely on how fast a dog learns new commands.

Based on this information, a Puggle is likely to master a command after 40 to 100 repetitions. They may obey a command only 25% of the time, though. You often have to repeat a command several times for them to do it. French Bulldogs are rated just under the Pug in the 58th position. You’ll find Mastiffs and Pekingese ranking around the Beagle’s position.

On the other hand, Border Collies, Poodles, and German Shepherds are the three smartest dogs. Often, they can learn new commands in fewer than five repetitions, and they obey commands around 95% of the time. That’s a huge difference.

That said, intelligence isn’t everything. While you may consider getting one of these smarter breeds to make training easier, more intelligent dogs are generally more work. They require a significant amount of mental stimulation and exercise each day. Otherwise, they can become bored and destructive. Many of these dogs can be full-time jobs by themselves.

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Conclusion

Puggles aren’t the most obedient dogs out there, and they don’t rank the highest in intelligence. However, they are very adaptable, which takes some degree of intelligence. You just can’t expect them to learn commands as quickly or follow them as obediently as Border Collies or German Shepherds.

They aren’t going to be winning any obedience competitions!

However, that doesn’t mean these dogs are suitable as pets. In many cases, their more laid-back nature makes them perfect for your average family, while many people find more intelligent dogs overwhelming.

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Featured Image Credit: Phelan Photography, Shutterstock

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